See 7 of the Fastest Trains on Earth

Maglev train arriving shanghai station,china
© Yaorusheng/

Written by Lisha Pace

Updated: January 6, 2023

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Until the long anticipated invention and development of the hover car – high speed rail is the most effective alternative to air travel for journeys up to 700 miles. Carrying passengers between cities at speeds of 200 miles per hour and more, it offers a combination of speed and convenience that is changing train travel all over the world.

In 1964, high-speed rail was first introduced in Japan with the Tokaido Shinkansen line, known as the Bullet train, which traveled at 210 km/h, equivalent to 130.5 miles per hour. After that, many countries followed Japan’s lead, and currently, more than 26 countries have high-speed trains.

Today, improvements in technology have made it even easier to travel by fast train – making it speedier and safer than before. High-speed trains have greatly shortened travel time, making long journeys less tedious. Traveling by rail is often less costly than air travel.

China has the largest network of high speed rail, including the world’s fastest train. As of 2018, it boasted 17,000 miles of high speed rail, 60% of the world’s total. Fast trains can also be found in Europe and Asia. Besides speed, there are other reasons people travel on a train.

Maglev train arriving shanghai station,china

The Shanghai Maglev train is one of the fastest in the world.


Reasons People Choose Railway Transport Over Other Means

While many would assume that most people prefer air over railway transport, you might be wrong. People prefer trains because of their flexibility, comfort, cost, and speed. With the innovation of the high-speed train, it takes a short time and is less costly to travel long distances.

Some of the reasons that make traveling by train exciting are:

1. Flexibility

Trains have a less hectic booking process than planes, making them a more flexible way of travel. You can book a ticket the day of departure, and there are many options for departure time.

Also, most places have many trains departing in a day, meaning if you are late for one, you could catch the next. The railway network is also vast, and you can travel to almost any town solely on a train.

2. Efficiency

Trains follow a set schedule, and departure time is highly observed. If a train is set to leave at a particular time, there is a low chance that it will be delayed. This is unlike airplanes, where passengers can experience delayed departures and canceled flights.

The reason trains are rarely delayed is because they can move in any weather. Planes wait for the fog to disappear to ensure passengers and the crew are safe. Another efficient trait is that train stations are located in convenient locations within cities, unlike most airports, which are built on the outskirts requiring extra travel.

3. Relaxing Journey

Train trips can be therapeutic. Firstly, passengers do not have to stress about crazy traffic on the railway lines or getting lost. Secondly, the trains pass through rural areas with beautiful landscapes – where you can look outside and take in the view.

Passengers don’t experience turbulence, so all the luggage is safe and secure. There are also fewer body movements making you comfortable to enjoy the journey.

4. Comfort

Seating in trains is designed for maximum comfort. The seats are well spaced, giving enough room for you to stretch out your legs. They also recline, so you can adjust them to a position that makes you feel most comfortable.

Train seats are wide, and often they face each other. Some have small tables in the middle where you can place drinks and food to enjoy during the trip, and you can also use them for reading or writing.

The arrangement of the seats also encourages socialization. Passengers can get to know each other if they wish.

High speed train

High speed trains are a great and easy way to get to your destination quickly and comfortably.

©Denis Belitsky/

The Fastest Trains in the World

If you fancy traveling by train, you may be interested in trying some of these fastest trains in the world. Some of the options you have are:

1. Shanghai Maglev of China

Shanghai Maglev of China is the fastest train in the world, with a commercial speed of 267 miles per hour. This train is operated by Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. and moves through magnetic levitation (Maglev). It does not move on wheels or railway but through an electromagnetic push that allows it to move on paths with magnets.

Based on German technology, the Maglev trains fly along an elevated track, the powerful magnets providing a super-smooth, friction free ride. The train was built to connect the Shanghai Pudong International Airport to the outskirts of Pudong, where travelers connect from the Shanghai Metro line. This 22 mile trip used to take 35 minutes – now it takes only 7.

2. Harmony CRH 380A of China

Another great Chinese train, the Harmony CRH 380A train, ranks near the top among the fastest trains in the world. This train, launched in October 2010, travels at a speed of 236 miles per hour and it capable of reaching 302.

Harmony CRH 380A operates between Beijing and Shanghai and passes through the Wuhan to Guangzhou route daily. It is the second-fastest train after the Shanghai Maglev. Comfortable and vibration-free, the trip between the two big cities has been reduced to four hours from 10.

Harmony CRH 380A body is a low-weight aluminum alloy to enable it to move fast. It has a fish head front to streamline its body and make for faster speed. It has a capacity of 494 passengers, and they offer drinks and food inside.

3. Fuxing Hao CR400AF/BF of China

Another one of the fastest trains in the world is the Chinese Fuxing Hao CR400. The Chinese company CRRC collaborated with China Railway to manufacture another of the fastest trains in the world. This non-Maglev train with a speed of 220 miles per hour started operating in June 2017 on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line.

The train’s name means rejuvenation. The Fuxing Hao has two trains, nicknamed Dolphin Blue and Golden Phoenix. They have a capacity of 556 passengers each and travel between Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao station in under five hours.

The trains have a body built with a fish head shape to reduce aerodynamic pressure for faster movement. As a result, it uses less fuel due to the high speed. The inside has ample space, with every seat having adjustable headrests for the passengers.

4. Shinkansen H5 and E5 of Japan

The Shinkansen E5 first operated between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori in March 2011. It served on Hayate and Yamabiko Services. Later, the E3 series was introduced, and these trains moved at 275 km/h.

Japan has had high-speed trains since 1964 that initially operated between Tokyo and Osaka. The latest innovation brought the country the two fastest trains, the H5 and E5, with a maximum speed of 320 miles per hour.

Shinkansen Bullet Train

The Shinkansen Bullet Train speeding through a railway station in Tokyo, Japan.

©Steve Allen/

5. AGV Italo of Italy

Italy has the fastest train in Europe, the AVG Italo. It moves at a speed of 223.6 mph. The AVG Italo includes multiple trains built by Alstom, a French manufacturing company, and was launched in 2007. During the launch, these trains reached a speed of 356.6 miles per hour.

The AGV Italo trains move between Rome and Naples in an hour. They have 11 carriages, and the body is recyclable. Italo trains are lightweight, making the vehicles fast and energy efficient.

The vehicles are very comfortable to travel in. There are large windows, and the inside is spacious. The seats are also wide and provide enough armrests for every passenger. These trains have air-conditioners, and passengers can browse the internet freely using free Wi-Fi.

6. Haramain Western Railway of Saudi Arabia

When traveling between Median and Mecca through King Abdullah Economic City, you will most likely use the fastest train in Saudia Arabia. The Haramain Western Railway of Saudi Arabia travels at a speed of 217 mph, ranking it on the top 10 list of the fastest trains in the world.

This train was launched to the public in October 2018 and had a passenger capacity of 417. The trains move on an electrified double-track line, taking 43 minutes to travel from Jeddah and Makkah. It is twice as fast as a car.

Haramain train

The Haramain Western Railway is one of the fastest trains in the world.

©Jaiz Anuar/

7. Deutsche Bahn ICE of Germany

The Innercity Express connects cities like Berlin, Cologne, and Munich. This is one of Germany’s fastest trains with a speed of 205 mph and charges fixed prices for the different stations. The trains are mainly used by long-distance commuters and business travelers.

The Deutsche Bahn ICE series of trains has over 259 train sets and serve other destinations like Austria, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. These trains were first launched in 1988, but the first fleet expired in 1996. They were then replaced with better technology trains.

They have a futuristic design that helps to achieve high speed. The bodies are white and silver, have a red line on the train’s body, and can pass through a tunnel.

Final Thoughts

Railway transport has improved due to technological advancement. Some high-speed trains use fuel, while others are electronic and magnetic. Taking less time to travel long distances by train makes the journey more exciting and offers great opportunities for the local economies.

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About the Author

After a career of working to provide opportunities for local communities to experience and create art, I am enjoying having time to write about two of my favorite things - nature and animals. Half of my life is spent outdoors, usually with my husband and sweet little fourteen year old dog. We love to take walks by the lake and take photos of the animals we meet including: otters, ospreys, Canadian geese, ducks and nesting bald eagles. I also enjoy reading, discovering books to add to my library, collecting and playing vinyl, and listening to my son's music.

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